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How Should We Live While We Wait for Jesus' Return?

We're drawing from our series, "While We Wait," based on the books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians.

These letters, written by Paul, address the early church's confusion about the return of Jesus. Some were skeptical, thinking He wasn’t coming back, while others were so certain of His imminent return that they quit their jobs. Paul’s letters aim to clear up this confusion and guide us on how to live while we wait for Jesus’ return.

Let's focus on a topic Paul touches on that has gained immense popularity in recent years: simplicity. Or, as some call it, minimalism. In our fast-paced world, many of us crave a simpler, less stressful life. We yearn for a break from the busyness and complexity that often leads to exhaustion and burnout.

Paul gives us timeless advice in 1 Thessalonians 4:11: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life." At first glance, "ambition" and "quiet" seem like contradictory terms. Ambition is about actively pursuing goals, while quiet suggests a state of calm and rest. But Paul’s advice is profound—he's calling us to pursue a life of meaningful simplicity.

The Value of a Quiet Life

Living a quiet life doesn’t mean avoiding work or shirking responsibilities. Paul emphasizes the importance of minding our own business and working diligently. He criticizes those who are idle and disruptive, urging us to lead lives that earn the respect of outsiders.

In our modern context, this might mean setting boundaries to prevent burnout. It could involve reassessing our schedules to ensure we’re not just busy, but busy with purpose. Jesus Himself modeled this balanced approach. After a period of intense ministry, He would retreat to quiet places to rest and recharge.

Practical Steps to Simplify

So, how can we adopt this principle of simplicity in our lives? Here are a few practical steps:

  1. Pace Your Race: Recognize that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Maintain a sustainable pace that allows you to stay healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. We can harm ourselves by going at an unsustainable speed. Slow down, and prioritize what truly matters.

  2. Identify Fillers and Drainers: Reflect on activities that fill you with energy and those that drain you. Make a list and try to balance your schedule to include more of the fillers. For example, spending quiet time with God, enjoying nature, and connecting with loved ones can recharge you.

  3. Set Boundaries: Learn to say no to commitments that don’t align with your priorities. As Susan Larson wisely advises, “If it’s not a definite yes, it’s a no.” This can help prevent overscheduling and keep your life focused on what truly matters.

  4. Trust in God's Provision: Often, our frantic pace reflects a lack of trust in God’s provision. Psalm 37:5 reminds us to "Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you." When we put God first, we can trust that He will take care of our needs.

Living Out Our Faith

Simplifying our lives is not about eliminating all stress but about finding balance and avoiding burnout. It's about creating space for what truly matters, fostering deeper connections with God and others, and living out our faith with integrity and purpose.

As we navigate our busy lives, let's remember Paul's call to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life. By doing so, we can experience God's peace and be a light to those around us, living in a way that reflects our faith and brings glory to Him.

Let's take a moment now to connect with God, inviting Him to speak to us through His Word. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let His peace fill your heart.

In John 14:27, Jesus says, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."

As we go about our week, may we carry this peace with us, simplifying our lives and trusting in God's provision. Let's make it our ambition to lead a quiet, meaningful life as we wait for His return.


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